New Phishing Campaign Targeting Gov’t Departments Around The World – Commentary From Email Security Expert

Researchers from Anomali discovered a new, mysterious phishing campaign that attempts to the steal login credentials from government departments from around the world. In total, the attacks have targeted at least 22 different organizations across North America, Europe and Asia.

The attacks consist of emails pretending to be related to the targeted government agencies and attempts to trick victims into clicking an email link that directs them to authentic-looking, spoofed government agency websites, prompting the victims to input their username and password. The country that has seen the highest volume of these attacks is the United States with the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs being among those targeted.

It’s currently unclear who is behind the attacks or what their primary goals are.


EXPERTS COMMENTS
Anton Grashion, EMEA Director ,  Corelight
December 16, 2019
People are vulnerable and often do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
Phishing works. People are vulnerable and often do the wrong thing for the right reasons. This is why organisations assess risks and try to prevent all that is possible in line with their assessments and where that isn't possible they have to be able to detect threats inside the organisation in the minimum amount of time. That's often easier said than done and the drive to reduce the time to detec ....
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Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate,  KnowBe4
December 15, 2019
Security awareness and training is fundamental in defending organisations against such phishing attacks.
Phishing is a favoured technique of organised criminals and state-sponsored actors due to its high rate of success. The fact that this particular attack has gone to many government departments would indicate a targeted campaign. Government departments should remain vigilant, especially around the holiday period where many staff are on vacation so any intrusion may go undetected for longer. Secu ....
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James McQuiggan, Security Awareness Advocate,  KnowBe4
December 13, 2019
Criminals will use typosquatting to create a similar website with a transposed character.
Criminal hackers are evolving their phishing emails to make them extremely convincing to the end user and with a spear phishing email, it's targeted for that particular user. Criminals will use typosquatting to create a similar website with a transposed character to make it easier for people to fall victim to these types of attacks when they hover over the link in the email. Organizations with a ....
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Colin Bastable, CEO ,  Lucy Security
December 13, 2019
A holistic approach to cybersecurity is essential.
State and local governments are badly exposed to the risks of ransomware and CEO/BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks. At Lucy Security, in client meetings we consistently find that around 30 percent of spoof emails are delivered to the email inboxes of local government staff. The problem with relying on technical defenses like firewalls and DMARC alone is that the attackers only need to get lu ....
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Peter Goldstein, CTO and Co-founder,  Valimail
December 13, 2019
To stop attacks like this, the first essential step is to prevent malicious emails.
This new global phishing campaign targeting government departments is a prime example of how sophisticated and convincing cybercrime tactics have become, especially phishing attacks. There is a common misconception that phishing emails are easy to identify, because they’ll contain spelling and grammar errors and are clearly not coming from anyone the recipient knows. The truth is, cybercriminals ....
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